Welcome to W.I.T.S. (World Instructor Training Schools)
The World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.) has been leading for 25 years to enhance public safety by developing and administering true health and fitness certification programs. Furthermore, jobs in this industry are projected to grow 16% into 2021. As a result, W.I.T.S. can certify you in personal training, group fitness, older adult and other disciplines in this industry.
The W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer is the only organization to receive NCCA accreditation in the practical skills and the theoretical knowledge. In addition, W.I.T.S. courses are at hundreds of neighborhood colleges and universities with college credits through the American Council on Education (www.acenet.edu). Check out how we prepare our graduates for a solid career.
“I believe that the Internship requirement by WITS is invaluable! It forced me into a real training environment with real clients. I worked with 5 different trainers and was exposed to different training styles as well as very varied client ability levels. I saw first-hand how to interact successfully with clients and to keep them moving through their exercises. The Internship gave me the confidence I needed when I first began working as a Personal Trainer – I was hired at the facility I interned at!!! Get Moving!” — Carole K. View More Testimonials & References
by Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
As the COVID-19 pandemic transforms our society and a myriad of industries, including our own, concerns about safely continuing to pursue fitness goals have emerged as fitness instructors and the clients they support weigh the risks versus rewards during these unprecedented times.
Nationwide, cases have continued to surge in spite of attempts to temper the proliferation of the virus as government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels work to strike a delicate balance between curating the health of citizens and restoring the economy. Measures such as abridging capacity and hours of operation of multiple fitness and recreational facilities, including temporarily shuttering venues and suspending services, while disruptive, are intended to keep us healthy.
Long term held beliefs about exercise adversely impacting immune system is the functioning has been corroborated by a landmark review authored by Gleeson (2007). The review demonstrated that the inflammatory response of a singular bout of intense and prolonged exercise mirrors that of infection, sepsis, or trauma, triggering the release of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor, and interleukins 6 and 10, C-recreative protein, and interleukin-1-receptor antagonists that, in concert, influence the augmentation of circulating white blood cells, known as leukocytes.
Hormonal secretion following an intense bout of exercise induced activity, specifically epinephrine and cortisol blunt the secretion of leukocytes and impair cell mediated immunity and inflammation, thereby increasing the susceptibility of infection and modulating the morbidity and severity of illness. Previous research established a strong correlation between a exercise dose and upper respiratory tract infection among humans. Health fitness exercise bouts consisting of a stimuli that is too novel, too frequent, too intense, and too voluminous to which the subject is accustomed have been found to increase pathogen infection risk. There has been a considerable amount of studies that have demonstrated the temporary ergolytic effects of acute exercise on immune system functioning, ranging from three to 72 hours post-exercise. Researchers and health and exercise professionals have coined this period of time characterized by temporary suppression of the immune system as “the open window”.
To simultaneously curtail infection risk and facilitate the achievement of improved fitness industry qualities or biomotor skills, one must account for life stress, energy availability, sleep duration and quality, travel, and exposure to environmental or climate extremes beyond the exercise frequency, intensity, volume, and type, according to Professor Neil Walsh, a faculty member at Bangor University in the United Kingdom, who outlined recommendations for athletes to maintain immune health.
Key guidelines among the few dozen presented are summarized below for personal trainers in working with potential clients:
- Undulating training stress throughout training cycles and weeks
- Incorporating active recovery sessions
- Incrementally increasing volume and intensity, but no more than 5-10% per week
- Minimize unnecessary life stress
- Monitor, manage, and quantify all forms of stress, both psychological and physical
- Aim for more than seven hours of sleep each night; nap during the daytime, if able to, or necessary
- Monitor sleep duration and quality; ensure darkness at bedtime
- Be cognizant of reduced exercise capacity in hotter, more humid environments
- Permit acclimatization to changes in, or extreme weather
- Uphold optimal or recommended nutrition, hydration, and hygiene practices
- Do not engage in extreme dieting; be sure to consume a well balanced diet
- Discontinue training if experiencing symptoms “below the neck” as they could be indicative of an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)
- Avoid sick and/or symptomatic people
- Practice good hand hygeine
Exercise evokes a hormetic effect, or dose-dependent response, meaning that moderate exposure can be beneficial, but amounts either too minimal or excessive can cause harm. This is precisely why exercise physiology scholars and health and medical professionals alike have embraced the mantra of “exercise is medicine” in recent years. Too little exercise results in greater cardiometabolic disease (aka conditions of “disuse”) risk, whereas too much exercise results in greater injury or illness (aka conditions of “overuse”). As mentioned in an earlier post, “acute singular bouts of exercise at or above lactate threshold (55% of VO2max among untrained individuals; 85% of VO2max among trained individuals) for periods of up to, or more than one hour, contributed to temporary immunosuppression. Regular exercise among individuals has shown to yield immunoprotective benefits. The takeaway here should be, exercise during this time should be regarded as a tool to reinvigorate and recover, not bury and deliberately fatigue. Sparingly perform sets to failure and limit volume at or beyond lactate threshold.”
In summary, immune system performance and overall health can be achieved through regular exercise. During times of greater illness transmission and infection risk, fitness professionals, athletes, and enthusiasts must practice both diligence and vigilance to ward off foreign pathogens. Fitness goals should be targeted and inputs, such as time and effort should be quantified to calculate training load. Rest and recovery should be as equally, if not greater prioritized.
- Gleeson, M. (2007). Immune function in sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 103 (2), 693-699.
- Kakanis, M.W., Peake, J., Brenu, E.W., Simmonds, M., Gray, B., Hooper, S.L., & Marshall-Gradisnik, S.M. (2010). Exercise Immunology Review, 16, 119-137.
- Murphy, E.A., Davis, J.M., Carmichael, M.D., Gangemi, J.D., Ghaffar, A., & Mayer, E.P. (2008). Exercise stress increases susceptibility to influenza infection. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 22, (8), 1152-1155.
- Nieman, D.C. (1994). Exercise, infection, and immunity. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 15, S131-S141
- Walsh, N.P. (2018). Recommendations to maintain immune health in athletes. European Journal of Sport Science, 18 (6), 820-831.
- Wong, C., Lai, H., Ou, C., Ho, S., Chan, K., Thach, T., Yang, L., Chau, Y., Lam, T., Hedley, A.J., & Peiris, J.S.M. (2008). Is exercise protective against influenza-associated mortality? PLoS One, 3 (5): e2108.
By: Mark S. Cassidy, MS
Let’s face it, the COVID-19 pandemic (in relation to a baseball analogy) has been a curveball that no one has been able to hit cleanly. That being said, we all still need to stand in the batter box and take our best swing.
As states across the country begin to allow fitness centers, health clubs, wellness centers and athletic facilities to open, there are still numerous precautions that have to be considered with coronavirus. For all of us who are actively involved with the Fitness Industry, we can’t simply think that it is going to be business as usual. Its not. All of us (members, clients, personal trainers) are going to have to be much more conscious and take a proactive approach to try and ensure the safety of everyone. This won’t necessarily be easy, but it is doable.
The following is a usable list of suggestions that should be considered when you prepare to reopen to start fitness sessions and training activities for your client base:
Fitness Facility Usage
- Remove equipment (strength and cardio) from some areas and have it located in another part of your facility to help with physical distancing
- Make some equipment (strength and cardio) unusable (maybe by posting sign on it), then changing which equipment is usable daily
- Utilize multiple doors in the facility – One for “Entrance” – One for “Exit”
- Temporarily remove all fitness accessories and portable recreational equipment (bands, balls, bars, etc.) from the fitness area
- Supply additional cleaning supplies, then require all participants to clean up / wipe down fitness equipment after use
- Require wearing a mask or cloth face shields be worn by everyone in the facility
- Perform temperature checks for everyone entering the facility
- Air flow is key so use your fans in the building and leave your fan setting for the A/C on.
- Require all members or clients to sign a Liability Waver specific to COVID-19
- Additional Hand Sanitizer units should be installed in facility
- Limit that only 2 people may be in any rest room, at any time
- Limit that only 2 people may use the elevator, at any time (if you have one)
- Consider establishing a “fitness room capacity’, then require any interested participant to schedule an appointment time, in order to use the room / equipment
- Consider to temporarily not allow access to the locker rooms / showers
- Consider foot-plates or arm-bars to open the doors in the facility
- Consider offering any live fitness-group classes virtually
- Temporary suspend any recreational activities, games, and competitions on a basketball court, racquetball court, or turf field where intentional or inadvertent physical contact may occur
- Eliminate the use of any room or area that cannot be monitored by a staff member
- Rearrange Fitness Staff or Sales Staff offices, to help with social distancing and allow for immediate cleaning when their use is completed
- Consider adjusting the operating scheduling of the facility (longer of shorter) to accommodate community members who have preexisting health conditions, along with controlling the flow of foot traffic in the facility
- Staggered scheduling for Fitness Staff, so not all the staff members are in the facility at the same time
- Allow Staff Member to work from home, on task and work assignments that do not require them to be in the facility
- Scheduled workout sessions for specific participants, with a limit on the number of participants on the court, field or gym at a time
- Once a group session is concluded, those participants will be required to leave the facility or field, so the next group can participate
- Don’t allow friends or family members to wait in the facility during a session
- Clients are to bring their own fitness or athletic equipment (balls, bands, clothes, etc.), to all fitness training sessions. The Staff will not be allowed give out equipment
- Clients or members must bring their own water or snacks with them to all training sessions
Fitness Facility Rentals
- Any group that wishes to rent or reserve any field or court in the facility must do so through a designated staff representative of the facility, do so 24 hours in advance, and supply a list of all participants who will be using the field or court
- Inactive participants, reserves, or members serving in the capacity of a “coach”, “photographer”, or “referee” must maintain a distance of six feet or more from other persons at all times
- Aforementioned persons must always wear a facial covering, mask, or shield while not participating
- A designated staff member will determine what sports or activities will be permitted on any field or court in the facility, along with having direct and final input on any rules that are associated with predetermined sports or activities
- Recreational and sporting activities with greater rates of contact, whether intentional or incidental, are prohibited
- Participants are to follow self-screening measures prior to entering premises which include temperature and symptom checks. Those who have a body temperature of 100.4F or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 are prohibited from entering the premises
- Those who exhibit symptoms during play or while on premises, must vacate immediately and seek appropriate medical attention
- Beverages with open containers and food and snacks, specifically gum, lozenges, and sunflower seeds are prohibited due to increased risk of transmission via saliva.
- The sharing of beverages, including water and sports drinks, from the same container, is highly discouraged
- Participants are strongly discouraged from high fiving, handshaking, fist bumping, hugging and sharing other forms of physical contact with one another. Additionally, participants are discouraged from touching their faces with their hands and fingers
- Personal property is to be stored along the perimeter of the field or court, and more than six feet away from possessions belonging to other persons
I recognize that there are a lot of potential rules or restrictions on the list, along with other ones that could be included. However, because we all work at various locations, with different populations, with different requirements, my suggestion would be to apply as many of these as possible to your specific athletic, fitness, and wellness training situation.
Together, we can all make a positive impact on limiting the exposure of COVID-19. Then we can all get back to what it is we like to do – physically training and conditioning our clients, members and athletes… … and swinging for the fences …
Mark S. Cassidy, MS has been actively involved with the Fitness and Athletic Industry for over 25 years.
He has held professional positions with The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, World Instructors Training Schools, Philadelphia 76ers, YMCA, Delaware Blue Coats, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and American Heart Association. Mark has an Associate’s degree in Business from Delaware County Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Temple University, a Master’s degree in Organizational Development/Business Psychology from The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has professional experience as a Fitness Instructor, Strength Coach, Sports Coach-Counselor, Exercise Therapist, Sales Manager, College Professor, and Athletic Facility Director
By Dave Johnson
The landscape of the fitness industry has changed dramatically over the past few months. A staple of most communities, fitness facilities have been ordered to close, trainers have been furloughed, and people have openly stated that they aren’t sure if they’ll feel “safe” in facilities when (and if) they reopen.
This, of course, comes at a time where the need to live a healthy life has never been more important. COVID-19 has really raised the focus on public health and, as trainers, we play an integral role in helping people! Consider the co-morbidities most often associated with complications from COVID-19: obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These are all things that we help people with on a daily basis. We’ve been talking about the importance of battling these conditions for decades but, now that the spotlight is on them, people are taking notice and want to improve. It’s important to note that this includes potential new clients, as well as those who may have suffered from the dreaded “Quarantine 15” weight gain.
The issue facing trainers, however, is clear – how do we train our clients when they are hesitant to come to our facility or, even worse, our facilities are closed? The answer lies in improving and diversify our offerings. Trainers must be innovative and look for ways to help people outside the normal confines of a fitness facility. Both social distancing and outdoor activity are proven ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19, so seeking activities that accomplish both are essential to our success.
One exciting option for trainers is to encourage Fitness Walking. An underrated exercise activity, fitness walking can yield a multitude of benefits for your clients – both new and established. It’s low-impact, provides both physical and mental benefits and, most importantly, can be done virtually anywhere by anyone! W.I.T.S. Fitness Walking course covers proper techniques, skills, and content used in designing, implementing, and evaluating individualized and group programs in fitness walking for a variety of clients and their fitness levels. You’ll learn about nuances such as gait deviation (which can play a huge role in stride rate/length and injury prevention) and how the principles of physical fitness directly relate to fitness walking. You’ll learn about specific flexibility exercises that can benefit walkers and even some basics about proper clothing and footwear! In short, this course will give you the necessary skills to add this style of training to your offerings so you can continue to be profitable during these trying times.
As mentioned earlier, this pandemic has forced us to be innovative and there are some really fun new concepts that have emerged that would pair nicely with fitness walking, such as virtual races. Obviously, given the times, the idea of getting large groups of people together for a 5K, 10K, half- or full-marathon, is one that should remain just that: an idea. Instead, the market for virtual races has exploded since February! There are races of almost any length and many of them have fun (or customizable) themes that award medals and gear much like their physical counterparts. Think about how fun it would be for a new client to have the pride of accomplishing a goal without the usual nerves or hesitation associated with a live event. It could just be what they need to make this a lifelong activity and you’re the perfect trainer to help them get started.
Swing by the W.I.T.S. store to check this course out, as well as our other sport-based CEC offerings. Check back in often as we are beginning to develop a new line of courses specific to the current needs of trainers.